Brook Sunday XI finally get on the pitch
Hot sun, soft pitch!
A glorious day and the ground looking splendid suggested a game of excitement, similar to last year's, was on the cards. However, the recent heavy rain was still playing its malignant part in events leaving us with a wicket which did not encourage stroke play.
Despite this Tom elected to bat and aware the wicket may hold some issues dropped himself in the order from opener to No. 10. In his place the "youth and experience" coupling of John Hamilton
and Harrison Ward
strode to the wicket
Somehow Harrison Ward
had not been told, nor worked out, the character of the strip and raced out of the starting blocks scoring twenty in better than even time. With John Hamilton
playing his part Brook reached 38 for the first wicket in seven overs and all looked forward to a 200 plus score.
At this point a significant re-evaluation of the conditions must have taken place as the second wicket pair of John and Sam Milliken-Smith
adopted a rather more cautious approach as they occupied the crease for an hour and three quarters adding seventy six runs. This may well have been a form of psychological warfare as it clearly "got" to the Woodpeckers who, perhaps, should have looked more at the skill of their first four bowlers (Pugh, Holme, Qureshi and Mott O) who all bowled splendidly. Mott only conceded seven runs in eight overs and was treated with utmost respect!
Eventually Sam threw caution to the wind and left his crease for the first and last time and was stumped for 31. At 114-2 after 37 overs it was clear some aggression in the batting was needed and this was duly supplied by Nick Owen
and Adnan Khan
. John, having by now "understood" the wicket, scored more freely and saw the innings to its conclusion at 174-3.
Another excellent Agge tea was enjoyed by the players(and, it appeared, by everyone within two hundred yards of the ground).
Stomachs full the Brook attack was opened up by debutant Quincey Stephens
and young Will Owen
. Both bowled well beating the bat on a number of occasions. With four overs gone Will found the edge of Holme's bat and the ball was remarkably caught at slip by the father of the team Tim Oakes
(further delay in retirement now expected!!).
Holme's replacement Meacock suffered the same fate as Brook's Nick Owen
after believing nobody who plays Sunday cricket can hit the stumps directly on the full from over five yards.
We had been reliably informed by Patrick Owen-Browne that the surviving opener, Potter, rarely ventures into double figures but he stubbornly resisted for forty minutes before being beaten by one that drifted away and then spat back onto the stumps (description provided by Tom Williams
). Potter made 11. This brought Owen Browne (T) to the wicket and for half an hour he showed what was possible dispatching a "crap" ball (not Tom Williams
' description ) over the score box and finding the boundary with some elegant strokes. Tom was to have the final say when he hit Owen Browne's stumps when he was on 35 and looking as if he could affect the result.
With the exception of Patrick Owen-Brown (who interestingly scored his 19 at a slower rate than John Hamilton
!!) the other wickets fell fairly quickly to the varied attack of Tim Oakes
, Adnan Khan
and Callum McKenzie
who delighted us with two wickets on his debut.
A very different game compared to last year but a very similar grouping outside the Dog in the evening.
The champagne moment, without hesitation, goes to Tim Oakes
for his age defying catch.
Man of the match was less obvious. Many were considered and discarded with (from Brook) Hamilton's 74, Ali Shaw
's quiet and accurate performance with the gloves in contention. For Woodpeckers Owen-Browne's 35 and Mott's exceptional figures of eight overs for seven runs were talked of. Eventually the award went to one who never ventured onto the pitch and would only leave the car under pressure. Alepine!!